A Dental Shock Absorber: How Your Teeth Can Act As Shock Absorbers

Teeth may look simple from the outside, but inside they are anything but. Each tooth is equipped with the biological tools it needs to replenish and regenerate itself should the need arise. And, like the rest of the human body, which scientists recently discovered was covered with a network of shock absorbers, teeth also have their own shock absorbers.

As a result, if you suffer a fall and bang a tooth, your tooth's ability to absorb pressure will reduce the damage.

The Periodontal Ligament Absorbs Impacts

The primary role of a periodontal ligament is as a connective tissue that keeps your teeth firmly in place, attached to the surrounding bone. However, this fibrous ligament can also absorb the shock of an impact to a certain extent.

If a tooth suffers a minor impact, the blood vessels surrounding the tooth release intravascular fluid that then cushions the force. Similarly, the periodontal ligament itself deals with moderate pressure by releasing extravascular fluid to absorb the shock. However, the periodontal ligament deals with major impacts by widening. This wonderful ability means that should someone fall and bang their teeth together, the damage could be drastically reduced.

Keep Your Gums Healthy

Gum disease is the bane of periodontal ligaments. The bacteria that cause gum disease can infiltrate the space between a tooth and the gum tissue holding it in place. This happens when a buildup of plaque hardens into tartar, which can take up to 10 days. Because the surface of tartar is rough, this makes it easy for bacteria to cling to it.

Once the tartar spreads to the area between a tooth's root and the surrounding gum tissue, the bacteria clinging to it can then spread to the periodontal ligament. This weakens the ligament, causing the tooth to become loose and reducing ligament's ability to absorb shock. If you want your shock absorbers to stay in good shape, don't allow plaque to build up on your teeth.

Chips and Cracks Still Happen

One of the most common tooth injuries is a breakage, such as a chip, crack or dislodged section of tooth. Even your periodontal ligaments, as effective as they are, can't always prevent such an injury. Fortunately, composite bonding can seal cracks and replace small chips. However, you may need to replace it every few years. Porcelain veneers may be expensive, but they can give a severely broken tooth new life, as can porcelain crowns.

If your tooth shock absorbers let you down, seek out a family dentist. Even badly damaged teeth can look as good as new after cosmetic dentistry.